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We immediately think of empty nesters when we consider downsizing but itís not just kids flying the nest that has created an interest in downsizing. As we start to live more eco-friendly and conscious lives, families and singles are starting to consider the importance of how they live. In turn, this awareness has led many homeowners to consider whether their large spaces with lots of stuff is actually fulfilling.

Covid brought a lot of change to our world and one of the lasting effects was the comfort that employers have with work from home situations. For some, that means they require more space but for others it opens up an opportunity to work and travel at the same time. That means their home base can be smaller because they spend less time there.

Thereís also a movement towards minimalism thatís aligned with downsizing. For some, the stress of day-to-day life creates the need for home to be a sanctuary. The minimalist lifestyle includes smaller spaces with less stuff so that when homeowners enter their space they feel calm and safe.



HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY DOWNSIZE

Aside from talking about who can benefit from downsizing there are a lot of practicalities that need to be considered. Iíve helped families downsize for years and regardless of your reasons why, there are some easy steps to downsizing that will make your journey more enjoyable.


1/ PRIORITIZE WHATíS IMPORTANT

The first step to downsizing is always sorting and organizing. This is likely the most important and time consuming stage. Even for those of us that are great organizers and are able to stay on task this part of the downsizing process will take a lot of time. Just being prepared for that will lessen the stress of it.

Itís also the most emotionally draining part of the process because you have to say goodbye to some things. We can easily be swept up looking through all your old things and the next thing we know the hours have slipped away. This can lead to hours spent walking down memory lane and in turn those memories may leave you tempted to hang onto everything.

Your goal is to separate your items into categories of what you want to keep vs what can be donated, sold or given away. Itís not a bad idea to also include a pile for sentimental items, especially those youíre unsure about. Put it aside for now. When youíre finished sorting you can revisit the sentimental items bin and look at everything again. If you still feel like itís too difficult to let go, it stays. Itís possible that with a bit of space you may be ready to say goodbye to some items.



2/ COMPARE THE SQUARE FOOTAGE OF OLD AND NEW SPACES

You may not have purchased or rented your new home yet but you should have an idea of what size this space will be. You donít want to spend time downsizing only to have to do it again when you move.

Be honest with yourself about what size space youíll be looking for and purge accordingly. If youíre selling your home, you can read more about preparing your home for the real estate market here.

If youíre not sure about the size of your future home you can talk to your realtor or rental agent. If you can describe to them the vision you have for your new home they may be able to shed some light on a typical square footage. Even if you donít know the exact square footage itís helpful to know if itís a 2 or 3 bedroom. How many main living areas will there be? Are you hoping for a basement or just a single level home? We canít know for sure where weíll end up until we find the next home but try to determine what your needs are.

Comparing the size of your current home and your future home may help you to get serious about downsizing. When we know our future home is going to be approximately half the size of our new home itíll make the sorting and packing stage so much easier.



3/ DONíT BE ATTACHED TO THINGS YOU DONíT LOVE

One of the biggest obstacles to successfully downsizing is homeowners who are overwhelmed with the obligation of hanging on to things. This can be the artwork from your childís elementary school days or it could be a dish set from Grandma.

In order to successfully downsize you need to be honest with yourself. Do you love the thing or are you hanging onto it because you feel you should? If the answer is obligation, consider who might be able to use and love this item. Thereís a chance someone else in your family would love the dish set and would use it so ask around. If nobody wants the items you may have to say goodbye so you can live the peaceful downsized life youíre craving.

As a last resort consider documenting special memories. If youíve come across the artwork your elementary school kids created 30 years ago take photos of it all. You can either store them in a folder on your computer or you can use these photos to create books of your childrenís memories. There are a number of businesses like Snapfish that will turn your digital photos into photo books. You just upload your photos and youíll receive a physical book so your memories will last forever.



4/ KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE FUTURE

As humans weíre wired to want to protect what we have. That can make the downsizing process difficult. And if you havenít moved in a long youíre likely to be dealing with an entire lifetime of memories that make this move feel difficult.

You want to avoid the feelings that youíre leaving something behind. Instead, keep your smaller space in mind and think about everything youíll gain. Less housework, less financial outlay on maintenance. Whatever is motivating you should be your north star. This will help you stay positive throughout this emotional process.

I hope this helps to give you an understanding of what the downsizing process will be like. Itís important to know what youíre in for so that you have enough time and arenít fighting against the clock.

If you need help staging your current home or creating a beautiful design for your new home, reach out and contact me. Iím available to help you with all of your design needs.


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